Is it just me?

I have noticed that social interactions espically with strangers, have really changed in the last year. I think that Mr. Trump has made it acceptable to speak openly with less regard for political correctness and rational thought. Patience seems to be in short supply and fringe groups are organizing into gangs that share similar views. Car horns are working over time and there seems to be a trend toward short sightedness.

One major problem with this change is that the groups are empowered by what they read on the Internet and in the Media and they actually believe they are right. I am astounded by some of the claims that I have heard people make in social conversations and wonder what will happen when their positions are proven to be wrong.

In some of my weaker moments I have tried to inject some facts into these conversations and they are immediately rejected as “Fake News”. I guess the only thing rational people can do is keep quite and let the train wreck happen.

A popular saying in the medical community is “You cannot fix Stupid”. That may be true but it would be nice if we could find a way to work around it.

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headlines

For those of you who don’t live in Ontario, we have a new premiere. That would be like a state governor for my American friends and family. The new premieres name is Doug Ford and he is the brother of the former mayor of Toronto. He was elected in a fog of controversy that included charges for mismanaging funds brought against him by other family members. The Ontario voters were so focused on getting rid of the person in power that they did not seem to pay a lot of attention to who they were electing. Mr Ford has proven to be a short sighted clone of Mr Trump in his first few weeks in office.

What has he done so far?

  • He put an end to Ontario’s cap and trade program, which caps greenhouse emissions while allowing major polluters to buy and trade exemptions in the form of carbon credits.
  • He’s backing away from funding refugee resettlement and blaming the liberal government for what he calls a refugee mess.
  • He dialed back pharmacare by restricting the benefit to those without some form of private health coverage.
  • He delayed the implementation of stronger police oversight.
  • He paused plans to control the ticket-scalping industry.
  • He delayed new vaccine reporting requirements.
  • He delayed the onset of new anti-vaping laws.
  • He fired Ontario’s first-ever chief scientist.
  • He fired the head of Ontario Hydro and paid millions in severances.
  • He cancelled the electric car rebate and put a hold on implementing new changing stations.
  • He scrapped the Ontario sex education curriculum and reinstated the outdated old one.

In each case Mr. Fords reasons for these changes are lame and lean towards Mr. Trump’s vision that the world was much better off 40 years ago so we need to take a step back.

The chaos has just begun in Ontario but this form of regression has happened over and over again in history. It’s long past time for political reform. If the parties can’t pick leaders that the people want to vote for and the parties can’t implement policies that implement what the majority want, the system has failed us

 

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Open Mic Tonight!!

Hey Everyone,

I will be hosting the Open Mic tonight at the Royal Oak on March Road in Kanata. Come on out and help me entertain the crowd. The music starts and 8PM and goes until midnight. I will have a spare guitar if you don’t want to bring your own.

..FG..

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Who wins in a trade war??

What is a trade war?

A trade war is when countries impose tariffs on each other in an attempt to level the playing field with respect to manufacturing costs and cost of living in the different locations. Unfortunately, Governments sometimes impose tariffs to give their local manufacturers a trade advantage. In either case, tariffs result in counter tariffs.

Trade wars slow down business activity around the globe by restricting international trade. Trade wars have lead to global depressions like “The Great Depression”

Ask any economist and they will tell you that no one wins a trade war.

Some less informed leaders believe that a trade war is “good” and “easy to win.” but here are the facts.

Prices will go up

In a trade war, consumers and businesses have to pay more and pass that on to their consumers.

Tariffs imposed on raw materials effect the price of finished goods. When imported materials cost more, local producers tend to raise their prices to create a higher overall market price. No one wants to leave money on the table.

The bottom lines is that everyone pays more.

Businesses will lose sales

Trading countries will retaliate with tariffs and restrictions on goods and services, making them more expensive, and less competitive.

When companies lose contracts to sell their products in other countries, it can take a long time to win that business back. Their customers will find other, more dependable suppliers while the trade war is waged and have no reason to switch back if things return to normal.

With a lack of exports comes a lack of jobs and those jobs will be in all sectors of the market. Products will be effected first, but services may have a bigger impact.

In some cases countries negotiated to protect things like patents as part of trade deals. If the deals fall apart, the negotiated conditions will no longer be binding.

Trading partners tend to also be lenders

Many of the first world countries are carrying large debts and those depts are being financed by countries that they trade with.

If trade is restricted there is no motivation for trading partners to finance debt so interest rates will go up. With higher interest rates, banks will be much more cautious when it comes to personal and business loans making it harder to get money. If countries default on debts their credit rating is negatively effected and it is that much harder for them to recover after the fact.

A lack of financing will effect new business and home starts and banks may be forced to foreclose on assets in order to deal with loan defaults.

The end result is a stagnant economy that slides into a depression.

How do we avoid a trade war

If a country tries to start a trade war, they don’t understand the fundamentals of trade. A lack of leadership and understanding takes years to fix, so it’s best to let them be.

Countries with more experienced and reasonable leadership should seek each other out and strike new relationships to rebalance global trade.

    The bottom line is “No one wins a trade war”

 

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To my American friends and family

I recently made the mistake of commenting on facebook after Mr Trump tried to tell Canada how to manage its dairy industry and threatened more trade sanctions. He seems to believe that he can tell every country in the world what to do and follows every command with a threat. Is that not the definition of a bully? I’ve spoken to my brother-in-laws in the USA and they explained to me that they elected Trump to clean up the corruption in Washington. In that, he seems to be doing a good job. He’s not your typical politician and he does not tolerate political stupidity.

Unfortunately the way that Mr Trump is accomplishing what his people asked him to do is damaging the reputation of Americans in the eyes of the rest of the world. I don’t think that many Americans trust the news to believe what is really going on. I’m guilty of not trusting the news because I have personally been misquoted by the media. It seems that the media has it’s own agenda and that has negatively effected their credibility over the past couple of decades.

So where does that leave the rest of the world? We are on the outside shaking our head at how the American people can be mislead by competing media organizations while their president gets things done by being a bully and forcing his will on the rest of us. I don’t think the American public are to blame because they don’t know (or don’t care) what is going on outside their boarders. They have enough troubles at home.

In much the same way that Hitler mislead his people by focusing on issues at home and quietly targeting ethnic groups, Trump has the ability to blind and mislead the American public. The media can’t report the news because they have no credibility and Trump has an excuse for every childish tweet.

When all the dust settles I’m afraid that Americans will no longer be welcome in any country but their own. It will take decades for the rest of the world to believe that America wants to participate in  making the world a better place. The really sad part is many Americans don’t know what their government is doing to them.

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Celebrating 60 years!!!

Hey Readers,

If you’re in Kanata Ontario tomorrow night, stop by the Royal Oak on March road between 8 and midnight to help me celebrate 60 Years. I have an evening of live music in store with performances by a number of friends and my band.

Ther weather man is calling for snow, but we live in Canada so that’s no big deal.

Hope to see you all there….

..FG..

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Personal rights and the Internet of Things

Last week I received an email from the manufacturer stating that my high tech bathroom scale would no longer support pulse wave velocity. Pulse wave velocity is a measure of the time it takes for blood from your heart to reach your feet and is an indicator of arterial health. If your arteries are hard, the blood will get there quickly and if they are soft, the initial pulse will be delayed by the expansion of the vein.

This is a measurement that used to cost people money and was only performed in special facilities. The note from the manufacturer said:

“With our Body Cardio product, we brought Pulse Wave Velocity to a home scale for the first time. After routine review, we now believe that this feature may require a different level of regulatory approval. In light of this, we have decided to deactivate the Pulse Wave Velocity feature on January 24. As a result, Pulse Wave Velocity readings will no longer appear on the scale screen nor will they be viewable in the Health Mate app. Your data will be retained and is downloadable. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and we invite you to read our FAQ page where you’ll find out more, including how to retrieve your Pulse Wave Velocity history if you wish.”

There are many different ways to interpret this statement but it seems that some external group forced the change. No further details are provided in any of the FAQ’s.

So the manufacturer did not ask for my permission, they virtually entered my home and removed functionality from a product that I already paid for. I wrote an email telling them that I did not want them to do this, but they did it anyway. I can’t pinpoint why I feel that I have been wronged, but it’s a strong feeling and I’m sure I will be able to articulate it eventually.

So I guess the concept of purchasing a product is changing and ownership has been blurred. I have so many questions…

Does this mean that IoT products will never truly be ours? Is it ok to allow external product producers to enter our home networks to modify their products? Should producers ask for permission or do they have the right to just change things? Was this an action to avoid a copyright infringement? If it is, is it right for me to suffer for someone elses mistake? Should this be tested in court?

What do you guys think?

 

..FG..

 

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Cyber Terrorism

If you have been following my BLOG you would know that my family has recently suffered a loss.

To add to that loss, my sister has had her memories stolen by a cyber terrorist. The family PC has fallen victim to CBT-Locker which is a ransomware program that encrypts all of your photos and text documents with a very strong encryption. They give you the public key and tell you to send them money to get the private key.

From what I have read online, there is no counter measure at the moment, so all we can do is preserve the files and the public key and hope that someone figures out a way to reverse the encryption.

So my sister lost her husband, her oldest daughter and large part of her memories.

You can imagine that this makes me very angry and makes me wonder what kind of people stoop to extortion to fund their other despicable acts.

The message we want to send to those people is not something that I want to say here, but you can image that it would be filled with a lot of explicatives.

What I can say is “We will not pay the ransom !!!”

 

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A tragedy of epic proportions

On this past Monday night we lost two of the most quite and caring people I have had the pleasure to know. My Brother-in-law John Keeler and his 20 year old daughter Tiffany Keeler.

They were on their way home from St. Lawerence College where Tiffany was studying to be an RN when their pickup truck was crushed by a semi on the 401. Tiffany was a new mom with a four month old baby and this all happened on the eve of my sister’s birthday.

The investigation is on going but the driver of the semi has been charged.

I was just listening to a show on CBC radio last week about the safety of Ontario’s roads given the increase in Semi traffic and now I face the reality of exactly that. My Aunt Brenda was killed by a Semi and now my brother-in-law and niece.

It’s all still a bit raw, but the frequency seems to indicate that we have a serious problem. These vehicles are huge and unable to stop in the same way a passenger vehicle can.

There are too many trucks on Ontario roads with passenger vehicles. I googled accidents on the 401 in 2017 and I was shocked at the number of fatalities.

It’s time to regulate the industry to the point where only the best operators remain in business. Governments need to do their part to separate semi and passenger vehicle traffic and driver’s of passenger vehicles need to learn exactly how dangerous our highways really are.

Stay away from Semi’s when you are driving on mixed traffic roads and be very aware of what’s behind you as well as what’s in front. Never be boxed in and always have an escape route.

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What is the purpose of Open Mic’s?

If you’ve been following my BLOG you would know that I have been active in the local Open Mic community for several years now. The experience has been fun but also educational. Some hosts have it down to a science where others …

The best Open Mic’s are ones where the host actively promotes and encourages guests to fight back their stage fright and share their talent. This makes for a friendly atmosphere where musicians can bond and nurture new talent. Music and performing is not something that you just know how to do, it takes years of practise.

Some times people try really hard and they just can’t seem to find their place, but there are the diamonds like a 14 year old girl that showed up in her cut offs and cowboy boots and hammered out three songs that were written before she was born, like she had been doing it all her life.

I’ve watched hosts coach talent and develop it into acts worthy of their own stage.

That’s what Open Mic’s are for. Coaching, Bonding, Discovering, Entertaining and developing. The venues get free entertainment and fill seats with friends and family.

Unfortunately I’ve seen the other side of Open Mic’s as well. There are a few venues in my area where hosts use Open Mic’s to promote their friends and their own talent. These venues are not really open and hard to break into. I’ve also seen venues that advertise Open Mic’s where all of the talent is pre-selected and filtered to appeal to the audience.

I like being part of a support network for new and developing talent so I avoid the non-open Open Mic’s.

Check out my earlier BLOG posts for some of my favourite places in the Ottawa area and support your local musicians.

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